We love our blue jeans. They’re versatile, durable, and who hasn’t felt that sense of euphoria after, trying, tracking and forging an all out hunt to score the perfect pair? Once you get that oh-so-right fit, you never want to let them go and do all you can to preserve them for as long as you can. On top of that, we think it’s important to aim to do right by the fashion choices we make – including our trusty blues.
However, when it comes to denim, not all jeans are created equal. Made mostly of natural fibers that can literally withstand a lifetime of wear, yes our jeans could be considered sustainable. That is, depending how they are sourced, how we treat them while we have them and what we do with them after they’ve worn out their use. We offer these suggestions.
SKIP THE WASH
To keep your denim in tip top shape, be gentle. More washing isn’t necessarily better. Believe it or not there is a conundrum brewing over whether it is proper or even harmful to machine wash your denim. According to jean aficionados, machine washing and drying not only strips the fabric of its color and form over time but the damage of detergent and soap has been deemed harmful to those baby blues.
If you’re convinced the “no wash” route is the way to go you’re probably wondering what to do about stains, odor or just general maintenance. There is a solution. It’s advisable to simply spot clean jeans when dirty and when you do decide your denim duds are due for a deeper cleaning – a vinegar bath is the answer. That’s right, soaking jeans in cold water with about a cup of regular distilled vinegar supposedly gets it done. Then line dry. To spot clean, spray with vinegar. And to kill bacteria, it’s recommended that you stick them in the freezer about once a month.
Above all, this natural and eco-friendly solution is said to extend the life of your purchase which, as it turns out, is sustainable and cost-effective.
BUY A PAIR, GIVE A PAIR
Speaking of purchases, it helps to be mindful when you shop. Check the materials list and be sure to frequent the stores and shops that are committed to eco-friendly practices – such as using less water consumption in production, less or non-toxic dyes and denim recycling. Retailers like Levi’s, H &M and Madewell have denim recycling programs and Madewell will even give you $20 bucks off your next pair.
DON’T DITCH, DONATE
Finally, if you’re not necessarily purchasing a new pair, but you or your kids have outgrown a pair, don’t just ditch ’em. There are many organizations who will take your denim, even if they can’t be worn at all. Some are youth-driven and use the donations to help teens in need, while others will upcycle jeans to use as insulation.
Good jeans take on a whole new meaning when you consider the options that make you feel good about the jeans that make you feel good.